Life

Then it looks like that even the Church is silent, while Benedetta is getting closer to her Getsemane of solitude: "You know, mom, for many Benedetta is already dead. And yet many will remember me; they will mourn for not being close to me during this hour. The end is near, but you will never have to feel lonely, mom; I am leaving you many many children to take care of".

Benedetta is feeling the time of the Meeting coming closer. "In these very last days my health conditions have been worsening; thus, I hope that the "call" doesn't let itself wait for too long...I can tell you that I have already heard the voice of the Groom. I am slow in my prayers, but I offer everything of myself, as I am: may He, who is born in me, guide and lead me to the end". "I can tell you that in these days I often feel in myself the presence of the Holy Spirit". Sirmione (picture) , 23 January 1964 in the morning, day of the wedding of the Virgin. Benedetta asks her mother to "read" to her the closing page of the Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux. This is the page of St. Therese's Oblation. Her mother is close to her and to speak to her is slowly moving her hand because Benedetta seems to be very tired.
A little bird is sitting outside her window; her mom communicates this to Benedetta, who has been left with no voice since several months, and she begins now to sing an old song: "Pilgrim swallow". Her clear and pure voice is impressing all those present. Emilia, the nurse, exclaims with full commotion: "Listen to her voice. This is a voice that comes from heaven. Benedetta is dying!"
These are the last moments of her earthly life. Out of season, a white rose blooms in her garden. Hearing this from her mother, Benedetta tells her, maybe remembering the vision told to Giuliana: "It is a sweet sign"... Many times in her life she had repeated: "For all those who believe, everything is a sign".
Then she asks her mom to "transmit" Lucio's last letter, who, recalling St. Paul, is speaking to her of the exaltation of the cross.
She remembers also the medical student who, in a bitter letter published on the magazine "Epoca" was professing himself unable to love and thus to believe: "Mom,...Epoca...I am dying...tell him...I love him". In a whisper she then adds: "...Mom...do you remember the legend?..." Her mom doesn't understand and remains silent. Only some days after her death her mother will remember the legend by Tagore: "The beggar and the king".

"I had gone a-begging from door to door in the village path, when thy golden chariot appeared in the distance like a gorgeous dream and I wondered who was this King of all kings!
My hopes rose high and methought my evil days were at an end, and I stood waiting for alms to be given unasked and for wealth scattered on all sides in the dust. The chariot stopped where I stood. Thy glance fell on me and thou camest down with a smile. I felt that the luck of my life had come at last.
Then of a sudden thou didst hold out thy right hand and say "What hast thou to give me?" Ah, what a kingly jest was it to open thy palm to a beggar to beg!
I was confused and stood undecided, and then from my wallet I slowly took out the least little grain of corn and gave it to thee.
But how great my surprise when at the day's end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least little grain of gold among the poor heap.
I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give thee my all."

(Rabindranath Tagore)

Benedetta gave all of herself.
Her last word was "Thank you".

Thus ended the earthly life of this heroic young woman who shared in the cross of Christ, so that she might share His Love with others. And thus began that marvellous life after death that was "to move the world mysteriously" and was "to live in others".

Benedetta was buried in the cemetery at Sirmione. Her body was later exhumed and taken to her native Dovadola. There she now lies in a very fine sarcophagus in the Benedictine Church of St. Andrew.

 

 

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